According to the American Staffing Association (ASA), three million people are employed by staffing agencies every week. With the economy moving full force ahead—particularly in Austin and other major Texas metros as well as Beaumont and the Southeast Texas energy hub—temp staffing is once again hitting its stride. And why not? Using a staffing partner is a great way to fill workforce gaps, stay flexible and find new employees. Temporary employees also love their jobs. ASA cites temps are far more satisfied with their jobs and employers than employees in the overall U.S. workforce.
With so many companies turning to temp staffing, however, many are finding out too late the price of trusting a staffing partner that doesn’t have its bases covered. Let’s look at five questions staffing agencies should be able to answer with confidence.
- Are you brushed up on safety regulations? According to OSHA, temporary workers are far more likely to be hurt on the job than their more experienced, full-time counterparts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2012, 16 percent of all workplace fatalities involved contractors and temp workers. The federal agency has ramped up enforcement in this area, holding both companies and their staffing partners equally responsible for safety issues. For instance, OSHA recently handed out $135,200 in fines to a Texas vegetable processor and its staffing partner for exposing temp workers to dangerous noise levels, toxic chemicals and other alleged hazards. Bottom line: Your staffing partner should be well aware of OSHA best practices and should have the appropriate training, testing and hazard assessment experience for your specific industry.
- Are you taking the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changes seriously? It’s easy to ignore ACA deadlines and assume they won’t apply to your workforce. But doing so may land you—and your temporary staffing partner —in hot water. Talk to your staffing partner about how your contract and temporary staff may affect your “pay or play” status when it comes to your full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce. Companies combined under common ownership are considered a single employer, part-time employees may count toward Employer Shared Responsibility, and those working an average of at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month will be considered full-time employees. Take a look at our previous posts about ACA for more information: Five Actions to Take Right Now and Should You Provide Health Insurance Under ACA?
- Will our background checks stand up against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) scrutiny? The EEOC will be the first to tell you that requiring a background check on temporary employees is legal and—in most circumstances—a great idea. However, handling background checks in a way that complies with the EEOC’s strict standards is another ball game. For instance, only performing background checks on some individuals and not others could be a recipe for disaster. Your staffing partner should be able to guide you in EEOC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) best practices when it comes to running background checks on temp, contract and temp-to-hire employees.
- Are we airtight on workers’ compensation? In 2013, the owner of a Tampa, Florida, staffing company was arrested for running a workers’ compensation fraud scheme in which clients were reportedly charged more than $130,000 for workers’ compensation insurance and other services that were never actually provided. Even smaller discretions like under-reporting payroll and misclassifying job roles can lead to big trouble. Be sure that any temporary staffing partner you choose is in good standing with the Texas Workforce Commission (or the workforce commission in your home state).
- Are your temps happy? When you hire a temp through a staffing partner, you’re essentially hiring an employee of that staffing partner. And, just like any other company, the quality of the staffing agency’s workforce is affected by the work environment, pay, and benefits. Use a staffing agency that treats its workforce poorly and you may find yourself with less than satisfactory help. The HT Group, in contrast, has found that staying competitive with other top places to work in Austin and Beaumont allows its staffing division to maintain a stream of great temps who might otherwise have gone on to find permanent employment. This includes providing benefits, perks and conveniences like vacation time, holiday pay, health care benefits, direct deposit, and online time submittal.
Warren Buffett once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Do you feel secure in knowing your staffing partner has you both covered? Ask these questions now, before low tide hits.
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